Hamlin Withdraws Suit Against DTC Member

Kristan Hamlin has withdrawn her lawsuit against Democratic Town Committee member Lisa Newman. Hamlin — also a DTC member — was seeking damages, based on alleged defamatory statements.

Hamlin’s lawsuit against 1st selectman hopeful Jonathan Steinberg is still pending.

Hamlin says:

“I have instructed my counsel to withdraw without prejudice the complaint I brought against Jonathan Steinberg’s former campaign manager and DTC Secretary, Lisa Newman. This means it can be re-brought at any time within 2 years of the defamatory remarks that she has made against me, and which are described, in part, in the complaint.

“My counsel (William P. Lalor) has accommodated my wishes, and issued this statement:

The complaint filed on behalf of the plaintiff sets forth well-pleaded causes of action and is supported by evidence of the defamation that includes written communications and recorded voicemail, along with willing witnesses. My client, in an abundance of good faith, has instructed me  to withdraw the operative complaint on a “without prejudice” basis as against defendant Lisa Newman, in order to give settlement discussions an opportunity, and importantly, so that the Wednesday Democratic Town Committee caucus can proceed without the public specter of division that Ms. Hamlin feels has  been created by the present DTC leadership.

Hamlin continued: “If Ms. Newman  can refrain from personalized attacks against me and others in the community, and is able to stick to the merits of political arguments, grow and benefit from reasoned dissent, and focus on unity instead of calumny, then this offer of peace will be rewarded. If instead she pursues a pattern of ugly, vicious personalized attacks against me and/or other members of our Democratic community, then she will return us to the status quo ante, the lawsuit  will be revived, and we will be back to this place, which is disruptive for our democratic community.

“I will be watching her conduct carefully, which she may pursue directly, or through counsel and others, and so should our DTC. If the defamation suit against Ms. Newman needs to be resuscitated because  the defendant was unable to embrace an opportunity for peace and instead continued down the path of denigrating and disparaging me either directly or through others who she employs, the DTC will all then understand that she/they are the authors of what ensues. I hope the defendant will advantage herself of this gesture of peace, quit personalized attacks against me and others, and rise to the higher angels of her nature. I hope she will make a mature commitment to peace within our DTC so that other, innocent candidates can win their races for the boards they seek without such distractions.”

Newman’s attorney Josh Koskoff says:

“Facing the prospect of an impending motion to dismiss her case for lack of merit along with the risk of having to pay costs associated with having to defend against her baseless claims, the plaintiff, Kristan Hamlin, withdrew her lawsuit against Lisa Newman today without any settlement on Ms. Newman’s part.

“The plaintiff had sought more than $15,000 of compensatory damages, along with unspecified punitive damages against Ms. Newman for allegedly defaming the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that Ms. Newman made false and defamatory statements concerning her in an executive committee meeting of the Westport Democratic Town Committee on May 10 of this year including statements, for example, that ‘the plaintiff was trying to undermine the DTC’s candidates, that the plaintiff was a liar and a bully who mistreated her Committee members’ and ‘that there were people who did not want to join the DTC because of plaintiff.’

“The plaintiff herself did not attend the meeting, but 2 witnesses who actually were present at the meeting signed affidavits attesting to the fact that Ms. Newman made no such comments and in fact remained mostly silent during the meeting. Ms. Newman was also prepared to argue that even if she did make such statements – which she did not – they would not have been actionable by arguing that the statements were nevertheless true and that the truth of a statement is an absolute defense to a claim of defamation.

“Ms. Newman is pleased to have the distraction and anxiety caused by this unnecessary case out of the way and the time spent in defending herself back, so that she can re-dedicate herself to being an unpaid civil servant as secretary of the Westport DTC, and a member of the RTM, along with the role that matters most to her: raising her 3 young children.”

14 responses to “Hamlin Withdraws Suit Against DTC Member

  1. lol ..

  2. Sara Kempner

    Lisa Newman is the better angel of Westport’s Democratic party. When I was chairing CT04’s branch of Sister District, an organization that mobilizes blue energy for purple districts, Lisa Newman was the MVP of Westport. Despite raising small children and dedicating so much of her energy to our local party, Lisa always created time to help Sister District. Lisa tirelessly participated in voter education studies to increase voter turnout amongst low efficacy voters. She made numerous phone calls to help flip the Virginia state legislature. Lisa mobilized folks to come to our fundraiser to flip the U.S. House in 2018. She always participated with an inclusive and positive attitude. In fact, Lisa was the first person in the town party to make the case that outside groups like SD did not drain the party but breathed new life. I admire and respect Lisa Newman. I’m grateful for her service to our town, her righteous heart, and her advocacy for underdogs.

  3. Sal Liccione

    I was on the DTC Communications Strategy Committee that Kris and Jill co-chaired. Kris was respectful and treated everyone with dignity and respect and was very inclusive. All the members sent emails saying that. Jill and Kris operated like a team. Lisa has no idea what she is talking about with how that committee ran. She was not part of it. As a gun violence survivor, I used to respect Mr. Koskoff for his gun control work. But the way he has helped attack a DTc member without facts is disappointing. After this generous peace gesture? His statement is inappropriate at this time. Let’s have peace and unity and stop attacking. We need to come together as a DTC team.

  4. Don’t ya just love politics? Lots and lots of talking, bickering and noise with very little accomplished.

  5. I’m a friend of Jonathan Steinberg’s sjnce Coleytown Jr. High School and respect his decision to leave the corporate world to have a second career in public service. I have never known him to be the kind of person to attack or even be rude to anyone,– unlike some of the uber-aggressive types who’ve been moving to town in recent years,

    I do not know his attacker, other than that she is obviously a successful lawyer who lives in a $4.3 million dollar house by the beach. (Not that there’s anything wrong about that.) Her comments about Jon’s career do suggest she looks down on hIm as a lesser being. That’s also a part of the New Westport Elite, sadly.

    In any event I suggest voters judge Jonathan by his 10+ year legislative record, not some outrageous charges, a number of them hearsay, made under the cover of attorney privilege. (Attorneys and litigants are generally immune from libel and slander laws for statements made in court proceedings.)

    • Sal Liccione

      Peter– You have things wrong. 1. Kris has been a public servant herself– 8 yrs on RTM; 6 as AUSA. She treats me with dignity. I have served with her on DTC and RTM–she gives generously of her time and is a great colleague. Jonathan threatened and bullied me in a text message.
      2. He’s the one who attacked Kris needlessly and falsely after she volunteered and worked to help him for years. I know directly, cuz I received some of his defamatory text messages about her.
      3.Kris put herself through college and law school cuz her dad had MS so calling her elite is wrong. She has worked her whole life.
      4. Calling her a newbie to town is uninformed; her direct ancestor co-founded this town in 1600s; she raised her 3 kids here.
      Pls stop making things worse. We want peace. I appreciate everything Kris has done for me and this town and want the attacks and bullying of her, me and others on the DTC to stop. Find out facts before you assume about people you don’t know.

  6. This spectacle is a demonstration of the Streisand Effect. It’ll accomplish billable hours for lawyers, but I’m not entirely sure it’ll provide any other benefits.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

    • The Streisand Effect means trying to take down unfavorable content on the web, and having the effort to do so backfire by drawing more attention to said unfavorable content. This doesn’t seem to be what’s happening here.

      • Tara Dooley

        It’s not just the web – and it definitely applies.

        Trying to kill what is perceived to be negative information in such a manner absolutely draws more attention to it. None of us would have heard about petty infighting in a small town political party without this, and barring any other details, this is what we’ll associate with any of these names when they pop up in other stuff.

        This doesn’t make anyone involved look good.

        • I agree that this kerfuffle exposes petty infighting and does not make anyone involved look good. But the purpose of the suit does not appear to be to limit the spread of embarrassing information; rather to widen it. The lawsuit’s alleged defamatory statements — even if they really were as claimed — were made in messages and conversation between a small number of functionaries in a small-town political club.. The lawsuit escalated the matter into the public sphere, and I suspect that was the plaintiff’s intent, but then again, I can’t read minds.

  7. I make no assertion about the attacker being a “newbie” or there being anything wrong about being wealthy and successful. Nor do I dispute any hard work and good deeds the attacker has done. I am taken aback, however, when people sue others on dubious grounds and spew out character-assassinating attacks in a public court filing that are so clearly intended to cause humiliation and pain. Aren’t there less aggressive and hurtful ways to resolve such a dispute? By the way, do share exactly how you were ‘threatened and bullied” by text message? Did you call or write back to Jon and suggest a discussion to work out your differences? In any event, is there no internal process in the state party organizations to resolve this kind of dispute short of a lawsuit splashed over [what’s left of] the local press? Sorry, but I see meanness as becoming an accepted part of politics on both sides of the aisle these days. And I say this as someone who was the youngest member of the Westport DTC during my gap year in 1974-75.

    • Sal Liccione

      Peter–You keep making irresponsible posts without the facts.
      she DID try to resolve it with Jonathan before filing suit. He made no efforts. He’s the one who attacked three women on the DTC with disparaging statements and false accusations. Two of them tried to work it out with him and resolve it privately. He would not apologize. He’s the one who is abusing his power. These women are entitled to stand up for themselves and not be bullied. Me too. I should not be bullied. I want peace and you want to make accusations about people without knowing facts. Stop. We need harmony.

  8. So now it’s “irresponsible” and “making things worse” to disagree with a public official on a public forum, while filing a lawsuit and issuing press comments that essentially assert a man’s entire career is worthless is “wanting peace.” BTW I asked if YOU ever spoke to Jonathan, not the plaintiff. I rest my case and I thank my lucky stars I never chose to go into politics!

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